How can leaders can use NLP?
What a great question and one that I get asked constantly. I also hear the comment, occasionally, “there’s no place for all that fluffy NLP stuff in business”. Well, I’d like to dispel that myth right here by exploring just a few of the areas in which NLP can help make a good business into a great one. I base my thinking on over 30 years in business roles, from Junior Sales Executive through to Managing Director, so I’ve had first-hand experience of the many areas where NLP can, and does, make a huge difference.
Over the next few articles, I’m going to cover the various areas of business in which NLP can not only help but, in fact, make a very big difference. We will begin at the top with the subject of Leadership and then, over the coming weeks, we will explore Sales, Customer Care, Key Account Management, HR and Training. You may notice some common themes as we go, as well as some differences across these.
Should you, the reader, wish to use this article in building a case for taking NLP into your workplace, then please feel free to download it, print it and pass it around – and please feel free to tell folks where you got it 🙂
NLP and the Business Leader
Leadership is about people! Managers manage processes, often dealing in the here and now, whilst a Leader deals with people, vision and the future. How can NLP help with this? Let’s take a look at some of the areas of NLP that can make a difference and how the pieces fit.
Goal Setting – effective goal setting is a vital part of any leadership role. Unless you have a clear and well defined goal you are likely to find yourself experiencing that old favourite, the “headless chicken syndrome” with staff not only not working effectively but, in extreme cases, working counter-productively. NLP helps with this by providing a very clear and structured approach to defining the goal in positive terms, determining the means by which progress is measured and even the impact of achievement and non-achievement at all levels from the individual right through to the organisation – and beyond. Thus, using NLP, a true Leader will have a very clear and well-formed Goal.
Planning – planning and strategy are the second area in which NLP will play a tremendous role. Utilising techniques from both traditional NLP and Timeline, I regularly work with corporate clients of all sizes (from one-man business to multi-national) in setting out a clear and objective plan to get from Goal to Success. Included in the process are the tools for exploring any potential obstacles that may arise and planning the strategies for overcoming them. Flexibility is one of the key principles in NLP and nowhere is that put to better use than in the modern business.
Communication – having a great goal and an excellent plan is all well and good. However, so many businesses then fall down because of failure to communicate both clearly and effectively across all levels. A good leader will ensure that this gets done in order to get buy-in and NLP is an outstanding tool for doing just that by providing:
- key language skills for influencing the mindset of the individual
- an understanding of the underpinning personalities of the individuals within the organisation
- excellent non-verbal communication skills that increase connection and influence
- emotional awareness that enables the Leader to handle resistance and obstructive behaviour in an effective manner
Motivation – any true Leader understands the need to inspire and motivate people. Realising the array of skills that NLP can bring to bear in this is a great step towards success. Areas of motivation helped by NLP include:
- understanding personality differences and their impact on how to motivate the individual
- awareness of the impact that personality mixes can have on group dynamics and performance
- increasing performance through Coaching
Feedback – so many of my corporate coaching clients talk of a lack of effective feedback to help them improve and develop. A key area od leadership is the ability to give effective, motivating and growth-oriented feedback. NLP, by its very nature, is about personal learning and growth and offers a number of outstanding feedback models that can be used in just about every circumstance.
Replicating success – the basis of NLP is “Behavioural Modelling”, which means the study of how people achieve outstanding results by understanding their behaviours and the underpinning mental strategies, attitudes and processes that make their excellence possible. The effective Leader, wishing to increase the effectiveness of the team and, of course, empower the individual to achieve their true potential, can utilise the skills and techniques of Behavioural Modelling from NLP in finding the “experts”, eliciting their strategies for success and then teaching those across the team and the organisation. Why have ONE successful Sales Executive when you can have TEN? Why have ONE great negotiator when you can have FIVE? Why have ONE outstanding manager when they can ALL be outstanding. NLP can make that possible by empowering you, the Leader, to understand your people and reproduce their excellence.
Influencing and negotiating – in the modern business world, Leaders are often called upon to get results without having the direct authority needed to get things done. The advanced language skills, relationship building techniques and interpersonal awareness that comes with the study of NLP can supercharge effectiveness in this vital area of leadership.
Self awareness – I believe that there can be no lasting professional development without personal development and Leadership is no exception to this rule. Gaining a deep level of self awareness, emotional literacy and personal understanding will provide a firm and lasting foundation for understanding and Leading others. NLP will bring that.
So, as you can see, there is great potential for success as a Leader using NLP. The question that often springs from this is, “OK, so how do I learn NLP?” in answer to that, I would refer you, the reader, to my previous article on how to find the right NLP Trainer for you. My advice, if you are looking to use your NLP in a business setting is to find an NLP Trainer who specialises in teaching NLP for use in business and who has a business background.